Suicide do's and dont's: Eight drugs, poisons, and other chemicals that you shouldn't use to kill yourself

I did a post on this topic when I first started this blog, but it needed improvement. Behold, improvement!

8. Sodium chloride (table salt)
Yeah, you read me right. Pretty much anything will kill you, if you get enough of it into you. This includes good ol' NaCl. You're probably looking at drinking a couple of gallons of salt water, and you'll puke long before you get most of that into you.

7. Methanol (wood alcohol)
It might work, and you get to get drunk while you're at it. But if it doesn't work, you'll end up blind and with holes in your brain.

6. Any radioactive substance
Even if you somehow manage to get your hands on something that is sufficiently radioactive to dose yourself with thousands of rems, dying is still going to take you at the very minimum a couple of days chock full of intense nausea and diarrhea.

5. Strychnine
As I discussed previously, a painful and terrifying way to die. You remain fully conscious and coherent as you experience repeated bouts of violent convulsions until finally your lungs stop working and you asphyxiate. Woo.

4. Any carcinogen with low acute toxicity
You'll need to a get a lot of it into you, which is a pain, and if you don't finish the job, you end up with cancer a couple of years (or more) down the road. I suppose the cancer might kill you, but that's an awfully roundabout and terribly painful and potentially very slow and agonizing way of ending things, don't you think?

3. Corrosive substances
These include common household chemicals like bleach, oven cleaner (sodium hydroxide), chlorine for the pool, and of course, that muriatic acid you have stockpiled in the garage. Some people seem to think that drinking one of these chemicals would be a good way to meet the reaper. Those people are wrong. Being strongly acidic or strongly alkaline, these chemicals will corrode anything organic, including your mouth, esophagus, and stomach. Then, I theorize, all of your stomach acid will escape into the trunk of your body, dissolving your internal organs. That doesn't sound terrible at all.

2. Paraquat
Paraquat is a herbicide found in many weed control products (e.g. Gramoxone). If you drink enough of it, you'll experience the joys of multisystem organ failure with death occurring within hours to a few days. However, should you fail to drink enough of it, it will selectively accumulate and persist in your lungs and slowly eat away at them while you spend several weeks gasping for breath in terrible pain before you expire. There is currently no antidote, and even people who manage to get lung transplants find that their new lungs are eventually destroyed as well, since the poison also hangs out in the fat surrounding them. Sadly, it is widely used as a means of suicide in many parts of the world.

1. Acetaminophen
Also known as paracetamol and Tylenol, acetaminophen is the most common cause of intentional self-poisoning in adults in many countries on account of it being widely available and cheap as hell. What doesn't appear to be widely available is the knowledge that this analgesic is highly toxic to pretty much just the liver and kidneys. Even if you take enough to destroy these organs, it can take up to two weeks to actually die. The pain is apparently excruciating.

4 chemically inspired comments:

kirsten said...

Woof! You make chemically-induced suicide look extremely unattractive! But most physician suicides are sccomplished by pharmaceutical means.

What about opiates/EtOH and tricyclic antidepressants? Those Fentanyl patches pack a good wallop, and there's no getting you back if you swallow enough amitriptyline.

Anonymous said...

I don't really complain, but where are the do's?

milkshake said...

Take a good mainline hit of smack and lay down for a long nap in the snow. Or roll a dewar-tank of liquid nitrogen into a small room, turn off the AC, open the gas valve and sit yourself comfortably.

I hope you find these suggestions useful - Don't fear the reaper.
And dont drink the enbalming fluid - it would make you ill.

Anonymous said...

Bein dead isnt so bad,
its the dying that kills ya!